Wise Guys and Old Folks

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Fox News programming has come up with what I believe may be one of the best panel talk shows since conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. examined and challenged this nation’s ideals through his many publications and through his long-running and very popular Sunday television program “Firing Line.”
For those of us old enough to remember, it was his magazine “The National Review” that was used to “define the boundaries of conservatism—, ” and where he and his editors denounced racists, white-supremacists, and anti-Semites. He was the first to question the Socialist direction our universities continue in. His first book “God and Me at Yale” was an unpopular but eye-opening finger-pointer. For those too young or maybe a little dusty, you can find many of Buckley’s past interviews on YouTube. Good Stuff.
So, anyway, I stumbled upon “Wise Guys” this past Sunday night at 9 p.m. and found myself agreeing with and applauding almost every statement made by the five panelists. Chosen for their expertise and earned credentials, these were “older” and “wiser” gentlemen than the crowd of news commentators we usually see gleefully presenting the day’s gossip from the White House or the Capitol.
I recognized most of the men; the moderator was past Education Secretary Bill Bennett. Oliver North represented the military point of view, while others had careers in education and economics; these were not the media stars we are used to seeing pontificate daily, hourly even.
Each “player” in this round table discussion offered good, sensible, thoughtful comments on the most critical issues facing our country and our families today. While no one believes any political party or ideology can solve every problem facing Americans, most agreed that the spread of Conservative values and a spiritual reawakening are necessary if we are to save Who and What we were designed to be: a Christian nation with an emphasis on a stable family unit and on an education which includes strong moral principles. Wow. God in America, in our schools and in our families. I could hardly believe my ears. Christian values promoted. Spiritual tenets taught and practiced. Goodness. Kindness. Decency.
It was so refreshing and encouraging to see and hear the most pressing issues of today discussed with such insight and wisdom. The hour-long special focused on the economy, changes in technology, education, the breakdown of the family, and the future of the nation. Not the junk stories or trash talk of the usual 24 hour news cycle designed to incite viewers to take up their technological weapons and tweet or text opponents into a violent lightening-strike media war!
When I remember that my parents only got their news once a day in the paper or that my husband and I might see only two or three news stories from the nightly local TV station, I realize that it is no wonder our lives, now dominated by moment by moment, play by play, up close, in your face personalities who have sensationalized every tidbit to a frenzy, it is no wonder that our lives and the world seems crazy compared with years ago.
I wonder also where the responsibility lies; what are the causes for the breakdown of the American family, and of churches closing their doors? When did our colleges become a hotbed of Socialism and of scorn for what we once revered? Which came first? The disappearance of mom, dad and three kids around the dinner table? Discipline at home and at school. Uncensored television or movies flooding our homes? The “Me” generation and the “Me, Too” movement.
Well, the sexual revolution of the 1960’s would be my guess. Playboy magazine. Swinging couples. Communication technology? The burning desire for “upward mobility,” for two cars, two bathrooms, granite countertops, ballet lessons, plus Disney vacations, meant Mom had to go to work. End of a good hot breakfast before school and work. Cookies and milk at the end of a school day. A strong male presence in black families disappeared and now 75 percent of their children are born out of wedlock. Twenty-five percent in white families. The majority of Millenials ages 26 to 31 are having children out of wedlock, 56 percent. A choice made popular and even glamorous by Hollywood. Tragic.
I agree with the gentlemen last night, including Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, that when Discipline in schools disappeared, it was about the same time the nuclear family disappeared. Without discipline being reinforced in homes, the chances of a teacher being able to successfully manage 30 students without the traditional types of tough love needed was nearly impossible. Without discipline came a lack of respect. Teachers, parents and grandparents all lost status. Old age guarantees almost nothing but a Senior Discount. Certainly not respect for wisdom that comes with age and experience. Sad state.
Anyway, enough whining. Let’s thump our Bibles a little more loudly and see if we can’t encourage our young people to believe more in their elders’ wisdom and less in just a college degree. Seems like a diploma isn’t all that one needs to have success in life. Good Manners will take you a long way, kiddo. Politeness should never be neglected, and Kindness is the number one best trait any human can possess. And guess what? It can be learned.
Yep. It’s free. And anyone can reap the benefits of a good, kind and loving spirit. Try it. And Smile for crying out loud!

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